Freedom, system thinking, politics, science, education, economics, pirates

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Eduardo - beginning of the video referee

So Celtic have succeeded in getting their day in court for the penalty that Eduardo alledgedly "won" by diving. If the court agrees a penalty should not have been awarded will Celtic sue for compensation, or a replay?

Having set this precedent every major game will now be followed by a legal challenge. Once individual players are suspended by a court after a game, how long before other ref decisions are taken there and results challenged. Will we see the premier league won by the team with the best legal team, not the best players. The way to head this future off is to adopt video refereeing, as in Rugby, tennis and cricket where in-game video is commonly used.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, 28 August 2009

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Immigrants do the jobs no one else will do

Here's an article from the Grauniad complaining about goby policies to limit immigrants access to benefits and citizenship. The question the writer poses is: Who will do the lobs the immigrants did when they've gone?

Answer: Our own unemployed. There's a lovely Polish lady working in the chipshop round the corner. If she should return to Poland, will there be any British unemployed person available with the skills to serve fish&chips? Of course there are, millions of them. But, if they took the job, they'd lose benefits almost £ for £, so being rational people, they don't take these jobs, leaving them free for immigrants who don't get the benefits.

So the key to the crisis of mass unemployment and jobs that are only done by immigrants is to change the benefit system, since it's design is the root cause of the problem. No Guardian writer could bring
himself to write that, though.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Govt encourages cycling - a great sucess (for the middle class cycling enthusiasts and bike retailerst)

There is a scheme run by the govt to subsidise bikes and cycling equipment for use to get to work. The cost of the bike & equipment (helmet, lycra shorts etc) are deducted from salary before tax and NI, so that's almost a 50% discount for a higher rate tax payer. The company buys the bike up front and leases it t the employee by salary sacrifice. The bike is carried on the company's books as capital, so gets a deduction for it and the employer's NIC is not paid, either.

What a great idea you may think: getting people out of their cars and onto bikes; great for the environment, great for their health.

So why am I pissed off about it:

I don't live within a reasonable cycling distance to work (in fact my office has just been relocated 14 miles further from home) so its not a benefit I can take advantage of. You can't get a nice bike if you don't ride it to work, though how HMRC will be checking this I don't know.

You can't get a bike for your kid to cycle to school, even if you drive them there at the moment.

If someone was driving to work, the decision to change to cycling can be funded entirely from the saving in petrol. Or if taking a bus or train, by the savings in fares.

All the people I know taking advantage of the scheme already have a bike, in some cases lots of bikes. They are using the scheme to buy enthusiasts' bikes costing £1000. I don't know of anybody buying a bike for the first time under the scheme.

If you don't have a bike and you want to start to cycle to work, you can get a new bike for £100, £50 at a boot sale or free on freecycle. The scheme effectively has a £1000 upper limit.

The scheme is only available if your employer feels like offering it and operating it through the payroll dept, although the employer also receive subsidies for running the scheme. The lower paid you are, the less likely your employer will be willing or able to run the scheme.

The scheme gives tax and NI relief on the payment, so it is much more advantageous to higher rate tax payers. Low paid workers presumably aren't as worthy as their middle class managers of a subsidised bike.

As a result, the scheme is not being used by the needy. Poor working class taxpayers are subsiding nice bikes for middle class people who have nice bikes already. Is this what the govt is supposed to be doing?

One for the bonfire

Here's a quango Calle me Dave can add to his bonfire, according to the Daily Mail (yeah, I know)

I have to ask; what scrutiny was there of this appointment and this contract. Public sector jobs like tese all seem grossly overpaid.

HT:Howard Clark at the Systems Thinking Review

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Quiet round here

I have't blogged in ages. Bloggers block and the distraction of Twitter on my new iPhone. I have a few things to get off my chest so watch this space.

-- Post From My iPhone